Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Release Date: 4/16/2013
Also Available On
Marvel vs Capcom is considered the official fighting game among Marvel fans. What about DC comics? There really hasn’t been a full-on fighting game except for the lukewarm Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. It felt a bit stiff, Mortal Kombat fans felt the violence was too watered down, and it just lacked some polish. The MK team has come back, minus Mortal Kombat, and created a very solid full on DC fighting game.
If you have played 2011’s Mortal Kombat reboot you will be very familiar with this game. The 2D fighting plane remains with interactive environments, special moves, and various other things. The game plays a lot like Mortal Kombat with several special moves and small combos at your disposable. You must combine all these to create larger combos, it’s tough and really takes some practice. Some characters are harder to play as than others, but they are all fun to play in their own way. The interactive environments are very neat and I hope more fighting games pick up on it. You can press R near different objects and some are on offense while others are defense. In Batman’s Bat Cave you can press a giant red button to ignite the Batmobile’s thrusters and burn your opponent. Some items can be picked up and thrown. Some levels have items at the very edges to help you escape and keep you from getting cornered.
The fighting engine is solid and responsive. Each character looks great and has an awesome arsenal of moves that are faithful to their comic origins. Each character has a special power-up they have that is executed with A. No longer are there four attack buttons, but three. Wonder Woman can use her power-up to switch between her sword and whip. Batman can shoot three batarangs, while some characters have defensive and passive power-ups. These have to recharge of course so they can’t be spammed. They are helpful and can give you a slight edge over your opponent. The power meter returns, like in Mortal Kombat, but is used for different things. Instead of the gory X-Ray moves, you can unleash super special attacks that look awesome. Some are a little less awesome than others, but they all take advantage of the power that each character wields. You can also use the Clash system which allows you to wager part of your special meter once per battle for extra health. These are all tactical additions that can give you an edge and turn the tide of the battle which a lot of fighting games don’t have.
The fighting system takes a little while to get used to because it’s unlike anything else out there. It breaks the mold of traditional fighting games which the genre desperately needs. Injustice has some of the best over the top action seen in a fighting game thanks to the source material. Blood and gore are exchanged for comic book action which you can’t get anywhere else. I also like how NetherRealm made Aquaman cool again. He looks awesome and he’s one of my favorite fighters. He feels a lot like Jade from Mortal Kombat where he whips his trident around a lot and is quick and jabby. I just wish they didn’t use so many obscure comic characters like Sinestro, Grundy, Black Adam, Raven, and various others. I also wish the roster was a bit bigger. At least it makes up for it in content elsewhere.
The first thing you will dive into is the story. Unlike Mortal Kombat, you won’t fight as every character in the game. I was also highly disappointed in the story because it’s just a pointless mess. Superman is tricked by Joker to kill Lois Lane and this causes some sort of rift and everyone crosses dimensions. Superman on the other side wants to take over the world and suppress everyone, so everyone is fighting their doppelgangers…kind of uninteresting. The plot is just a bunch of DC characters beating each other up, and doesn’t really come to a head. I was glad that the story was as short as it was and was just over with. It seems the story was kind of slapped together and wasn’t given much thought, DC fans will be highly disappointed in it.
After you finish that you can go online or partake in the 240 S.T.A.R. Lab missions that are similar to the Challenge Tower in Mortal Kombat. Go to the Archives to unlock alternate costumes (not enough!), battle mutators, and concept art. This is similar to the Krypt in Mortal Kombat but doesn’t quite offer enough.
Overall, Injustice is a very solid fighter that tries to break the mold but offers a weak story mode, and the game just feels like it’s missing something. Is it because it feels so close to Mortal Kombat that everyone is expecting Fatalities or something similar? Is it that the roster isn’t big enough? Too much lesser known characters? I can’t really say, but I can’t quite place my finger on it either. What’s here is great, not to mention that the Wii U gamepad can be used to play the game off the TV or used as a display for special moves. The game does look good with the Wii U getting higher resolution textures and some nicer lighting effects than the PS3 and 360 versions. The Wii U version is definitely the best of the three. With that said there are dozens of hours of content here and you will be playing for months.
Honestly, I came into Injustice: Gods Among Us unsure on what to expect. Honestly, the only other fighting game I’ve ever spent more than 10 minutes on was Super Smash Bros Brawl. Not because I don’t like them, but simply because I’ve never owned one. Due to my lack of experience in fighting games, this game started off very difficult for me. The hardest part for me throughout this whole entire game was the tutorial, where I spent over an hour struggling to learn how to dodge and jump. I thought the controls would feel like that forever to me.
Luckily, the controls will eventually grow on you. I still suck at dodging, but that’s more of a me problem than the game’s fault. Injustice boasts a surprisingly impressive story which I never would have expected from a fighting game. It involves parallel universes (you know, the kind of thing impossible to explain but easy to understand just like the Assassins’s Creed series plot). It’s surprisingly deep but the only characters you really feel bad for/care about are the alternate universe evil Superman (too complicated to explain) and the alternate universe Batman and Lex Luthor.
It’s such a shame then, that the story is so short. Fortunately, there is much more to do once the story is completed. There is an additional mode called S.T.A.R. Labs which includes its own story (which is completely unremarkable and does not feature voice acting) and has 240 missions which change up the gameplay in various ways so everything feels new. There’s also a Battle Mode which is basically a ladder tournament.
The more I played the game, the more I realized it was more similar to Super Smash Bros Brawl than meets the eye. Of course, the gameplay of both is completely different but I played both of the games for the characters not the combat (I’m not saying the combat is bad however). I’m not even a big DC fan or anything but seeing all these superheroes fighting on screen made me feel very giddy. We all know there are fighting games which have much deeper and more sophisticated combat; the reason we (or at least I) play Injustice is for the characters.
This game also has a cinematic feel to it. The super moves look really cool (if not completely unrealistic) the first few times you see them. Then, they get more and more monotonous as you progress throughout the game because they are completely un-interactive. Level transitions also suffer from the same issue but not as greatly considering they rarely occur. Fortunately, this un-interactiveness is forgivable because every single stage contains a wealth of interactable objects and depending on your characters class they can be used to smartly evade enemies, smash them, or deceive them.
All in all, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a fun game. While it isn’t the sort of game you can just pick-up-and play without any instruction, those who dedicate their time to it are in for an awesome experience.
The Wii U Difference
The Wii U version is almost the same as the other versions, other than a few differences. The Wii U version does look better than it’s console counterparts and the Gamepad can be used to display the moves list (other than in the S.T.A.R Labs, where it is oddly absent) which is incredibly useful for someone like me who is pretty new to the fighting genre or it can display the game in off-tv mode. Otherwise, you can play with the classic controller (normal or pro) or the Wii U Pro Controller.
While these are features I now can’t imagine not having in my game, the Wii U version almost feels like the outcast of the crew because it is missing many key online elements. Wii U users aren’t getting the DLC until summer and you can not set up private matches or rematch someone, which is extremely disappointing As well as that, there is a severe lack of online players. About half of the time I joined a ranked match I would be paired against someone in the top 10 of the leaderboard which is pretty unfair considering I’m nowhere near as good as them. I’m still giving the Wii U version the same score because not only does it look better but having a moves list right in front of you is such a brilliant feature.